The area in and around the leather tanneries stenches..
But, I wasn't so much bothered by the smell.. in fact I loved the smell of wet blue (a kind of treated leather, not really raw anymore, but still smelly to most). The finished leather would smell like most leather handbags or wallets do, but that smell would be a mixture of the smell of the hide and a lot of chemicals. I loved the wet blue smell.. it is still kinda in its initial stages of treatment but I love it..( please dont get ideas, I am not a vampirette)
Once there was a factory lock out due to some agitation by workers and all work had to be shifted home and the hall room was converted into a makeshift store for those wet blues.. When I returned from school, I went and sat on those mountainous piles of leather and stay there the whole day, studying there, playing there, sometimes sleeping too!!
I had always wanted to join the business when I grew up, the love for leather was in my genes. It was not to be though, being a girl I had to marry and make kids and not leather. Last year, I was in my father's tannery in Calcutta and was with him while he was grading the hides, very quickly, I started pointing out the various grades and my papa was impressed saying that I was a fast learner.
Even now I have a strong sense for leather, and I usually smell, like one smells a fruit or vegetable, to find if it is real leather or rexine..